Arrest
The Supreme Court had given Anand Teltumbde, a prominent Dalit scholar and intellectual, interim protection from arrest up to February 14.
Facebook/Anand Teltumbde

Dalit scholar, intellectual and civil rights activist Anand Teltumbde was arrested by the Pune police in the wee hours of Saturday at the Mumbai airport. Though the Supreme Court on Monday had extended the period of interim protection from arrest to four weeks from January 14, the Pune Sessions Court had rejected Teltumbde's request for anticipatory bail on February 1.

Anand Teltumbde, professor at Goa Institute of Management, is an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case. According to his friends, the professor was arrested from the domestic terminal of the Mumbai airport at 3.30 am when he was returning to Mumbai from Kochi.

The Pune court had cited that there was sufficient evidence to show that Teltumbde had links with Maoists and the Elgar Parishad conclave. Elgar Parishad was the event which was held to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Bhima Koregaon, a venue which is celebrated for the resilience displayed by the Dalit soldiers in the British army who fought against the Peshwas.

Additional sessions judge Kishor Vadane said,"In my view, there is sufficient material collected by the investigating officer to show the involvement of the present accused in the alleged commission of the offence. Moreover, investigation in respect of present application/accused is at (a) very crucial stage." 

Though Teltumbde's lawyers said they would be moving the high court, the arresting officers reportedly cited the Pune court’s denial of bail as the reason for why they were taking him into custody.

The arrest has been widely condemned by activists and Dalit rights organisations. Filmmaker Pa Ranjith and several others took to Twitter to protest the arrest.

Last year on December 21, the Supreme Court had granted interim protection from arrest for a period of four weeks. As per the order, Teltumbde could be arrested after the completion of four weeks from the date of order unless he could get a bail from the lower court. This order was further extended up to February 11 on Monday.

Earlier on January 17, fearing his imminent arrest, Teltumbde had sought solidarity from his supporters after the Supreme Court rejected his appeal to quash the FIR against him. Following this, a sustained campaign was carried out by activists on social media. Besides, 90 organisations, 50 institutions and intellectuals including the likes of Noam Chomsky, Jean Dreze, Sukhdeo Thorat, Vimal Thorat, Cornel West and several other signed a petition seeking the intervention of the United Nations to quash the case against Teltumbde.